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Rothoblaas: An Alpine heart beating for timber

Our headquarters, a structure entirely made of timber and glass, is located in Cortaccia(BZ). This is located in Italy’s north-east, the middle of the Alps, where the technical rigidity of German culture and the Italian innovative spirit meet.
It is precisely from this historically bilingual and culturally open territory, which nurtures a strong sense of belonging, that we reach every corner of the world.

This is a strategic position, close to research and innovation centres in the field of timber construction, such as: The University of Trento, the IVALSA centre in San Michele and The University of Innsbruck. This is the cradle of a land where timber is in the air and growth is continuous and unstoppable.

ROTHOBLAAS GROWS AND DOES SO IN A VERY SUSTAINABLE WAY

As a company, we were born believing strongly in the potential of this versatile and natural material as a construction method to focus on and to promote.

In 30 years the market has gone from being a niche sector, with the construction of houses, small structures and roofs, to a fast-growing sector that continues to challenge what seemed impossible until the day before. From humble beginnings, this method has led to the construction of entire residential areas built in timber and increasingly taller and more complex buildings that are at the same time safe, comfortable, healthy and have a strong architectural flair.

We publicly stand behind Mass Timber Construction and do it decisively because we have always believed in it and will continue to do so. We are actively working on the development of a sector that is crucial from the point of view of sustainability and low environmental impact. We are committed to researching and developing innovative solutions so that timber can become the raw material of the future and, consequently, the new construction standard.

Our company’s role is precisely that of forerunner and reference point in the sector: we have always aimed at identifying and developing technologies that allow us to face increasingly complex challenges and offer those who design and build in wood, safe and reliable innovations. It is precisely through our daily work that we give constant impetus to the development of sustainable construction, contributing significantly to the reduction of CO2 emissions worldwide.
The selection of material for our expansion project was therefore a consistent choice that confirms our involvement and proves once again that we are not afraid to put ourselves in the front line to support green building and help it grow.

TIMBER: A PROMISE MADE TO OUR FUTURE

The European Union commits to becoming carbon neutral in 2050, the so-called “zero emissions” target, with an intermediate step that foresees a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Rothoblaas has been working on this since 2012, when we built a 200 Kw/P photovoltaic system, a heat pump and a steam heating and cooling system using the heat from the solar system. We have continued along this path without hesitation with every means and possibility, even during the latest expansions.

That is why we are aiming to neutralise CO2 production already in the next few years, well ahead of the deadlines set by Europe.

In order to pursue environmental sustainability, we are also working to obtain the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for some of our products. This is a voluntary certification process that provides detailed objective and comparable information on the environmental impact of products or services, taking into account important variables such as energy and raw material consumption, air emissions, waste production and discharges into water bodies.

We are aiming for an environmentally sustainable future and it was a natural choice for us to make the structure and components of our new automatic warehouse from this precious material. Automation mechanisms are made of motors, tracks, electronics, steel – all materials that generate a great amount of CO2 in their production, as well as concrete foundations. In order to compensate for this CO2 production, we decided to make the entire structure and all the shelving in timber. It should be noted that this required more design effort, but in the end the costs are about the same as if we had used other traditional materials such as steel and concrete, which are commonly used in these projects. Our choice now allows us to enjoy important ecological advantages as wood has a significant negative CO2 balance.

OUR AUTOMATIC WAREHOUSE: the first in Italy built in timber

“The automated warehouse that we are building will be made entirely of timber processed in Alto Adige, including the roof and walls, and this means that we have an increased attention to sustainability,” says CEO Robert Blaas. “For us, the building’s sustainability is important”.

With a brief historical mention, it is interesting to know that during the 18th century, the course of the Adige River, which previously flowed on the right side of the valley, was changed and, as a consequence, the area where Rothoblaas headquarters is located turned out to be purely marshy. The true history of the hydrological regulation of the Adige River began under the reign of Maria Theresa of Austria in the late 1700s. As a result of the canal and drainage work carried out, the land was reclaimed and made cultivable. However, in the pre-design stages the land for building showed complications for a project of this scale.

“The soil is good in the first 18 metres”, says Peter Lang, one of Robert Blaas’ partners, “but then there are 2 metres of peat: a natural material which, when it is under pressure for too long, can fail to support its weight. We therefore had to build and install more than 300 CFA pillars 27-metre long Ø 400 mm in the ground, so that the soil could support this automated warehouse with a capacity of 60 kN per square metre. On top of this, a 60 cm thick concrete platform was built to obtain perfect foundations to support the warehouse with a subsidence of less than 2 millimetres in relation to the total surface area”.

Looking more in detail at the construction, Lang tells us that “the base of the structure consists of a bracing system of 20 combined glulam GL24 and LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) towers with a thickness of 2.5 x 0.8 x 20 metres. The shelving is completely made of glulam and the whole structure has fire resistance class R30”. Regarding warehouse automation, he adds that “a major Italian company was chosen to enable us to implement a multi-depth system. We are looking forward to seeing this completed because we are excited about it and because it will cover all our current needs,” concludes Lang.

INTERNATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

“We have now grown to 22 subsidiaries worldwide, and the new warehouse serves us in the first instance as an efficient storehouse for timely replenishment to existing warehouses and those planned for the near future,” specifies Alexander Vaja, Logistics & Warehouse Manager. We have considered making it automated in order to be able to handle the quantities that have to pass through here for the development of the next few years in order to support the company’s growth. Moreover, it is now a fact that we will have to produce many special products in large quantities and we have to be ready to handle them, offer them at competitive prices and within the right time frames: all this because we guarantee solutions for designing and building in wood that are easily accessible and adapted to the needs of all markets”.

“At present, we have space for 11,500 pallets in the warehouse in Cortaccia, and with the new warehouse we will be able to store a total of around 26,000 pallets: we practically double our capacity. This is a very important step for us because we estimate that we will meet our needs in this way for the next years,” Vaja continues, adding that “the new warehouse has been designed to meet the storage needs for the high number of pallets and products we expect in the next few years, but also to make the picking of low-turnover items in special dynamic picking positions more effective and efficient. It will also be essential for handling pallets and large orders for our subsidiaries,” concludes Vaja.

All this huge movement of goods from the current upper part of the warehouse to the new automated storage area is also aimed at creating new space not only for the picking area but also for the office area, as the number of employees is constantly increasing. In addition to this, the project includes spaces for laboratories, a research centre, an auditorium and relaxation areas to enable all employees to live our values to the full, both at work and in their free time: DYNAMISM, PASSION, AMBITION, INTERNATIONALITY and FUN.

SATISFYING OUR CUSTOMERS IS A MUST

The development of the market, with ever larger and more complicated construction sites, has been matched in recent years by a considerable increase in our range, which now offers multiple solutions for the many application needs of construction professionals. This has also led to a change in our order processing methodology, which is now more oriented towards increasingly specific product types and therefore more complex orders are achievable.

As a company, we bring our identity and expertise to the global market through a unique business model based on a deep knowledge of timber construction, occupational safety, high performance building, as well as the direct presence of an extensive network of specialist sales technicians.

We grow together with our customers, suppliers and partners, sharing our specialist know-how through the development of practical, effective and efficient solutions. It is precisely in this way that we strive to ensure that our evolution – and that of the sectors in which we operate -is continuous and mutual. Our reputation as pioneers is based on our ability to anticipate industry needs and to be easily accessible wherever our customers are in the world, enabling them to optimise their time and resources. We have no intention of losing this tradition.

TECHNICAL DATA

  • 3200 m2 of new storage area
  • 2000 m2 for goods handling (entrance + sorting ramps)
  • 1200 m2 for new offices
  • Total dimensions of the construction 40x80m and 20m height
  • 200 Kw/P photovoltaic system
  • Bracing system consisting of 20 glulam GL24 and LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) combined towers
  • Glulam shelving
  • Structure fire resistance class R30

ADDRESS

ROTHO BLAAS SRL
Via dell’Adige N. 2/1 – I-39040, Cortaccia (BZ)

PROJECT TEAM

  • CLIENT
    Rotho Blaas Srl
  • ENGINEERING
    Studio Merz KleyPartner
    Armalam
    Baucon
  • ARCHITECTURE
    Burgauner Arch. Lukas
  • AUTOMATIC WAREHOUSE
    AUTOMHA
  • FOUNDATIONS
    GEOFOUNDATIONS
    UNIONBAU
  • TIMBER BUILDERS
    Several specialised companies in the sector

To view and download the catalogue visit www.rothoblaas.com

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